It's All a Matter of Perspective!

Across the "street" from my house is a golf course and beyond that is one of the highest hills in the county, Sugar Loaf Mountain (named such because it used to be a ski resort - hence the chair lift in the foreground). A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I, along with our six children, climbed to the top to take in the views during our "full color" season.  

Facing East

 It was beautiful.

You can see for miles!

...Rolling hills blotted by an array of vivid colors.

...Bright blue sky with a light tufting of clouds.

...And the old ski resort in disrepair down below.

It is a great view...

But if you turn around you get a completely different view.

Facing North. Little Traverse Lake, Lake Michigan, and North Manitou Island.

A view for which people pay millions of dollars (I know. My husband and I have looked at real estate in this county.)

It is amazing how different things can look from the same spot.

This week's word for MOPS is "Perspective." As I set out on my quest to write about each of these words, I have been trusting God to provide the stories as they are needed. He NEVER FAILS! This time it came from my sister-in-law.

"Sometimes I just don't understand how some people can drink alcohol and do other unhealthy things during their pregnancy and they get a healthy baby, but I did everything right and I didn't."she said as we chatted on the phone the other day.

I had just told her that I'd seen the picture that she posted on facebook of a shirt that she had purchased for my niece bearing the words "Everyone is Thankful for ME!" For most children, that statement could seem narsicistic, but not for Sweet Emily. For Emily, it's true!

Emily was born with Distal 18q- but her symptoms are not severe so she was not diagnosed until she was nearly two (her doctor was just dealing with each new symptom as it showed up).

I have never detected even a hint of bitterness in my sister-in-law. She simply had always had that question in the back of her mind and she voiced it! For two and a half years now, I have watched her handle the multitudes of doctor's appointments, surgeries, casts, leg braces and hearing aids with such grace. Emily is not coddled, so she has no idea that she has any limitations - she just takes everything in stride.
I knew just what to say.

"It's all a matter of perspective." I said.

I explained what I meant - that it's not that "some are blessed and some are not," we just have different types of blessings. Those of us who have "healthy" children have that one-dimentional blessing, but people who have "special needs" children have multi-dimensional blessings.

I reminded her of the things that she had just said about how amazed she is that her daughter is able to hear enough to speak and how she sits and watches her walk and thanks God that Emily is able to walk at all. I told her that the rest of us take those things for granted. It's not that we aren't thankful, we just don't have a reason to stand in awe about it, or to know that feeling of needing God on a day by day basis.

I pointed out that she was also a beneficiary of the "extra measure of grace" that God gives to us when we are in the midst of trials.

"These are all good things... If you choose to see it that way." I said.

Perspective is something that I believe that my mother cultivated in me. I remember that on several occasions she asked me to put myself in the other person's shoes and try to see how they might be feeling, or what they may have been thinking in the situation. This skill has come in handy all through my life.
It has made a difference in ministry, in my marriage, and in relationships.

Hurt feelings can be saved by using this wonderful tool called perspective (I know because I have done it both ways!) When I get caught up in my own selfishness, and see only my own point of view, then disaster... But when I take a few moments to consider what the other person might be thinking or feeling, I am able to empathize with them and keep my emotions in check. (That is why it is one of the best tools to use in marriage!)

Perspective also helps with circumstances.

How many times do we grudgingly endure difficult circumstances, hoping that they will soon pass and we can get on with an easier life?

Scripture tells us to correct our perspective in difficult times:

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." James 1:2-4 NLT

Today, if you are struggling with a hard time in a relationship or a circumstance in your life, instead of changing where you are, trying turning around and seeing it a different way. It could change your life!

"Sometimes we don't need new scenery,
just new eyes."
Dawn Miller


joyfully2b4u said...

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." James 1:2-4 NLT

Thanks for posting this verse in this version--the last two words grabbed me this time around "needing nothing"--so often our trials are times of great need, but Christ has promised over and over that He will supply everything we need. Even in our own character. So much to think about in those two words =)

and in your story. Very very true. Like you, I'm thankful for my parents and for other people in my life who have taught me that valuable (and freeing) tool of perspective!

This Little Life of Mine said...

wow. that is so beautifully written. what a blessing you must be to your sister during tough times & what a blessing she has been to her child.
found you through a Wise Woman...& so glad :)

Confessions of a Martha said...

I like to look at lots of different translations in my study. Sometimes, the way that one is worded stands out more than the others. It may not be the one that I would use for deep study, but for a really consise and relatable concept, it is great!

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